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8.4

Universal acclaim- based on 77 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 70 out of 77
  2. Negative: 1 out of 77
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  1. Apr 12, 2014
    8
    It's not always fair to judge a film by its director's previous endeavours, but it's almost impossible to watch "The Past" and not think of director Asghar Farhadi's previous masterpiece "A Separation," a study of two families attempting to navigate Iran's repressive domestic laws and the erosion of their relationships. As the title indicates, "The Past" remains idle in a shared historyIt's not always fair to judge a film by its director's previous endeavours, but it's almost impossible to watch "The Past" and not think of director Asghar Farhadi's previous masterpiece "A Separation," a study of two families attempting to navigate Iran's repressive domestic laws and the erosion of their relationships. As the title indicates, "The Past" remains idle in a shared history with its characters who bear the weight of guilt and resentment that fuels this slow burn domestic drama. Ultimately, "The Past" explores the emotional damage that can incur when lines of communication inevitably break down.

    Marie (Bérénice Bejo) and Ahmad (Ali Mosaffa) are estranged spouses. Ahmad returns from Iran to France, where Marie lives, to finalize their divorce. When he arrives, he learns that Marie is living with Samir (Tahar Rahim), and Samir's young son, as well as with her own two children from a relationship previous to Ahmad. As Ahmad tries to make the best of his sometimes uncomfortable visit, he finds himself in the middle of several tumultuous situations. As the days pass, more about the lives of these people are revealed, and with considerable consequences.

    Farhadi's most complex and involving narrative to date provides a natural progression with no real plot twists while providing some unexpected turns. Teetering on the edge of contrived melodrama, the film builds towards a lackluster and formulaic finale that's nowhere nearly as compelling as Farhadi's uncanny ability to powerfully convey human insight and emotional turmoil. That being said, Farhardi's unsentimental and unforgiving approach ensures that this tale of domestic tension is in capable hands.
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  2. Jan 27, 2014
    8
    Another powerful film by the director of A Separation, with this having less of the obvious dramatics of the former, but a similar exploration of moral uncertainty and, perhaps, the anguish of human experience. The Past employs a similar set of characters – modern Iranian woman, nice but slightly ineffectual husband, difficult teenage daughter, woman in a menial role who plays a catalyticAnother powerful film by the director of A Separation, with this having less of the obvious dramatics of the former, but a similar exploration of moral uncertainty and, perhaps, the anguish of human experience. The Past employs a similar set of characters – modern Iranian woman, nice but slightly ineffectual husband, difficult teenage daughter, woman in a menial role who plays a catalytic role in the film. This time it was Paris, not Teheran, and Marie-Anne’s husband flies in from Iran to sign the divorce papers. To find his wife ... you'll have to see the film! Anyway, lots of subtle twists & turns in the plot, and the agony of the children caught up in these adult dramas powerfully captured. And the film ends with you left wondering about what's happened, and what happens next. A great way to leave the cinema. Expand
  3. Feb 16, 2014
    10
    This is one one the best movies I've ever seen. Farhadi brilliantly takes us on a roller coaster ride through the relationships among the characters. We start with the relationship between a woman and her husband who returns to sign final divorce papers. He arrives at the airport and goes to baggage claim, but his suitcase has been lost. She sees him and tries to get his attention butThis is one one the best movies I've ever seen. Farhadi brilliantly takes us on a roller coaster ride through the relationships among the characters. We start with the relationship between a woman and her husband who returns to sign final divorce papers. He arrives at the airport and goes to baggage claim, but his suitcase has been lost. She sees him and tries to get his attention but can't. He finally sees her but there is a glass wall between them. One expects that this relationship will be examined more in depth. Instead, we careen to the mother-daughter relationship. The mother hopes the husband can help with the daughter's worsening behaviors. We then bounce to the mother-boyfriend relationship. The mother and husband are going through the final divorce procedure and the boyfriend is calling. He wants to know if he should accept the husband's damaged baggage which has been delivered to the house. A critic described the plot as meandering. I found it fascinating to go down the rabbit hole - but instead of straight down, we are redirected to tunnel after tunnel. We end in a place impossible to predict.
    In addition to the roller coaster ride through these relationships, we and the characters gradually learn their secrets and motives as both known and unknown to themselves. We think we learn the truth, then it is violently ripped away. We are largely left adrift and with ambiguity, yet the story is still satisfying because it feels real. Being in the field of psychology, I was struck by the authenticity of the emotions, the misperceptions and the misplaced assumptions. I believe this movie captures the complexity of relationships, motives and human truth better than any I've seen in recent memory.
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  4. Dec 20, 2013
    10
    Past Or future
    Past Or future by Hossein Aghaee.
    *** This review may contain spoilers *** Caught "The past" Asghar Farhadi's latest work last night in Isfahan" Farhadi's hometown" I gave ten star to the past like A separation but i confess that i like A separation more than this movie. The film was a masterpiece of Asghar Farhadi just like other film from this director. I hadn't been
    Past Or future
    Past Or future by Hossein Aghaee.
    *** This review may contain spoilers ***
    Caught "The past" Asghar Farhadi's latest work last night in Isfahan" Farhadi's hometown" I gave ten star to the past like A separation but i confess that i like A separation more than this movie. The film was a masterpiece of Asghar Farhadi just like other film from this director. I hadn't been swept off my feet for a while, and The final sequence of the film had me amazing where name of Bérénice Bejo And Ali Mosaffa was appear in Céline and Samir hands masterfully. I will be shocked if this movie doesn't win an academy award and I hope heard the name Of Iran and Asghar Farhadi when the pocket will be open in this ceremony. This film start little late but when Ahmad and Lucie meet together for second time Farhadi enters first shock to the viewer. From this moments we can see specific signature of Farhadi's drama in this movie. Farhadi never talk about his movies explicitly but I guess purpose of The Past sending an alarm to the selfish man who's always run from his past or in other words its past decisions. This past decisions is impact in our life and the others that we like them to much and Farhadi says "Be careful of Bad effect" maybe for this Marie never let to Ahmad to explain the reason for departure because She believe That decisions is the starting point for adventures that occurred four years later.Similarly, we can determine to the relationship between Marie and Samir or decision of Lucie or Naïma's decision and Or even the Céline's decision.
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  5. Dec 21, 2013
    9
    Not quite as outstanding as "A Separation", The Past is still a very good movie. The care that this family takes in examining and exploring the events of the past is remarkable. Bejo is always great to watch, but I was expecting a bit more from her here. I'm not sure that her part was written sufficiently enough to make her shine, or whether she really is the true focus of the film. TheNot quite as outstanding as "A Separation", The Past is still a very good movie. The care that this family takes in examining and exploring the events of the past is remarkable. Bejo is always great to watch, but I was expecting a bit more from her here. I'm not sure that her part was written sufficiently enough to make her shine, or whether she really is the true focus of the film. The compassion of the Ahmad character is amazing. Ali Mosaffa is a heavyweight talent. Expand
  6. Lyn
    Apr 3, 2014
    9
    That last scene ... wow. Not a spoiler to just say that it takes a story that already was complex and adds another layer. As with "A Separation," I appreciated the intensity of the plot & performances. During these family arguments, you never feel that it's just a farcical blow-up that's going to lead to a pat solution. The Iranian ex-husband's role felt somewhat formulaic at times ... heThat last scene ... wow. Not a spoiler to just say that it takes a story that already was complex and adds another layer. As with "A Separation," I appreciated the intensity of the plot & performances. During these family arguments, you never feel that it's just a farcical blow-up that's going to lead to a pat solution. The Iranian ex-husband's role felt somewhat formulaic at times ... he seemed to be huddling with one person, then another, then another, imparting what wisdom & help he could muster. The movie's stunner: Berenice Bejo in a role 180 degrees from her chirpy silent film star turn in "The Artist." Once again, she is amazing. Expand
  7. Mar 30, 2014
    8
    An Iranian man returns to Paris to finalize his divorce, where the relationships with his wife's new beau and their children cause the movie's complex struggle. As he so brilliantly showed in his last film ("A Separation"), director Asghar Farhadi has the ability to imbue even the most mundane moments with significance. As the conflicts develop, he elicits compelling performances from hisAn Iranian man returns to Paris to finalize his divorce, where the relationships with his wife's new beau and their children cause the movie's complex struggle. As he so brilliantly showed in his last film ("A Separation"), director Asghar Farhadi has the ability to imbue even the most mundane moments with significance. As the conflicts develop, he elicits compelling performances from his entire cast (including the moving young Elyes Aguis). This is an intelligent writer/director: he lets the story unfold in small bits and never resorts to histrionics. There's no music or any other technique to manipulate the audience, just solid filmmaking and an absorbing drama. (In French with subtitles.) Expand
  8. Jan 21, 2014
    7
    This French movie is made by Iranian director Asghar Farhadi whose film "A Separation" won the best foreign movie two Oscars ago.
    It is shut in the best French tradition with the whole palette of emotional nuances.
    Masterfully directed and acted, it has only one fault in my opinion: the script is over-done. There is one interesting twist in the story, then another one, then yet another
    This French movie is made by Iranian director Asghar Farhadi whose film "A Separation" won the best foreign movie two Oscars ago.
    It is shut in the best French tradition with the whole palette of emotional nuances.
    Masterfully directed and acted, it has only one fault in my opinion: the script is over-done. There is one interesting twist in the story, then another one, then yet another one. When the movie took the last turn I felt that is was one too much. Overall, it is a very good movie worth watching.
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  9. Jan 9, 2014
    9
    The only reason I gave this a 9 was the fact that "A Separation" exists. Both stemming from the same vein, marriage troubles creating a hostile environment, the intensity to which the trouble brews is outstanding. No need for music cues or your typical nonsense. This film is filled true raw emotion. I think Berenice Bejo should be nominated for just that reason.
  10. Feb 26, 2014
    10
    Sheer magnificence in every way. The characters have all the complexity of people you know well. The revelations of the story are compelling but completely believable. The acting is faultless. And the film is more visually compelling than the director's last masterpiece, A Separation. This Iranian director has emerged as an absolute master of the film medium.
  11. Jan 21, 2014
    10
    Frankly, I was bored after first 10 minutes of the movie. I thought it would be another 'A Separation' which might deal about the usual domestic violence of belonging country. A story like this is very common to where I am from, so I was not tempted for it. When it comes to 'The Past', it began very slowly and slowly like a crawling baby with a topic where characters from the movie discussFrankly, I was bored after first 10 minutes of the movie. I thought it would be another 'A Separation' which might deal about the usual domestic violence of belonging country. A story like this is very common to where I am from, so I was not tempted for it. When it comes to 'The Past', it began very slowly and slowly like a crawling baby with a topic where characters from the movie discuss about it. And then only moving forward with an amazing pace and gripping plot building further bigger which made me stun. Especially the end scene when one of the movie characters had a tear in her eyes, I went speechless. This is the movie from 2013 that no one must miss for any sake. I was fond of Mr. Asghar Farhadi's working style and never considered his fan till I this movie.

    The director was very clever to portray characters into different shades in different stage of the story telling. Like, I thought the role Samir is a pervert, but when story proceeded further everything looked different with changed atmosphere. That is because of the held back story in the initial portion. I was not aware of none other than a man visiting to meet his ex wife and give some advice to his daughter. When one after another begin to reveal, the development of characters widens so that made movie to have the power to entice the audience. For all this one man we must admire and it is none other than the writer and director, Asghar Farhadi. The actors as well posed a great performance to give a strong support to the director and his view.

    As, I think, this movie deserves much more praise and applaud from critic and audience than the director's previous flick. As you know I am a sentimental movie fan, so this movie acquired my complete attention and won my heart. The movie ended before resolving my doubts about the plot. Looks like it is understandable after seeing that particular end scene. According to my observation of ratings and reviews across movie sites and forums this movie yet to reach widely to the audience. Overall, it is a must-must see movie drama and highly recommended.

    9.5/10
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  12. Feb 13, 2014
    10
    In 2011, I was introduced to Asghar Farhadi’s superb film A Separation and his unique “everything that can go wrong, will go wrong” storytelling style. The film was a daunting, exhausting, and at-times experimental test on it’s audience that pushed the boundaries of the degree to which people can watch the lives of others quickly spiral down and out of control, in a relatable everydayIn 2011, I was introduced to Asghar Farhadi’s superb film A Separation and his unique “everything that can go wrong, will go wrong” storytelling style. The film was a daunting, exhausting, and at-times experimental test on it’s audience that pushed the boundaries of the degree to which people can watch the lives of others quickly spiral down and out of control, in a relatable everyday setting. With his newest film The Past, Farhadi sculpts a meticulous piece of cinema that reinvents the cliched English phrase, “the past comes back to haunt you”, and instead renegotiates it’s conventions to tell a story that shows how sometimes the past can instead come back to save you.

    The film, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2013 and played on the first night of screenings (although it was not the opening night film), was a big test to the skills and techniques of Farhadi’s uncompromising vision and narrative style. His Oscar winning film A Separation was regarded as one of the best films of that year, and in addition to winning the coveted Foreign Language Film top honour, Farhadi was also nominated for Best Original Screenplay, a feat that not many foreign language films reach, let alone their writer/director. Yet, Farhadi outdid himself once again with The Past; delivering a film that not only deepens the complexity of his characters and the moral dilemmas they face, but also pushes the conflicts of parents being accountable to their children, showing the selfishness of grown men and women and the daft choices they make, all in the name of love.

    To say that The Past is one of the most powerful, adult-driven dramatic narratives of the year, would be an understatement. Master auteur extraordinaire Farhadi delivers a film that tests the parameters of love, without ever giving us a clear-cut or wholly defined antagonist. His characters are people like you and me, dealing with life in the only ways we know how. Instead, the biggest villain in Farhadi’s film is life itself, with it’s unpredictable and sometimes diabolical sense of humour.

    This heavy-handed story of people caught in a twisted plot of love, adultery and confusion begins with Ahmad (Ali Mosaffa), a simple Iranian man who after four years of separation, travels to France to finalize his divorce with Marie (Bérénice Bejo). Marie has requested Ahmad’s return so that once their marriage is terminated, she will be able to marry Samir (Tahar Rahim), the owner of a laundromat and the new man in her life. Ahmad stays at Marie’s house along with her two daughters from a previous marriage, Lucie (Pauline Burlet) and Léa (Jeanne Jestin) as well as Samir’s son from his first wife, Fouad (Elyes Aguis), on the condition that while he is there, Samir stay somewhere else. Awkwardly forced to sleep in the same room as Samir’s son, Ahmad is able to make the best out of an uncomfortable situation, a trait we quickly learn defines Ahmad throughout the rest of the film. What develops then is a convoluted and highly delicate film with people who are just trying to make the best out of the situations they find themselves in.

    One of the beauties of a Farhadi film is its ability to show the true nature of people put in awkward and cynical situations. His men are furious, egotistical and macho in ways that allow other men to understand their own blow-ups and justify why their tempers flare. His women are strong and confident, using love as a muse to defy the limitations society has put on them. In action and in silence, his characters manoeuvre the unsteady terrain of life and the loud constraints of relationships. Throughout so many instances within the film, his characters find themselves lost for words and in a void that demands only silence. Yet within those subtle and incandescent moments of silence, the emotions of his characters are able to reach high decibels of intensity and range.

    One of the biggest differences between The Past and A Separation is Farhadi’s stunning ability to incorporate the perspectives and insights of the children involved in these complex relationships. Often times hysterical and warranting laughter, the film allows you time to step back and question the comedy in tragedy. At times, The Past plays out like a serious episode of Kids Say The Darnedest Things, through their perspectives, a perspective that oozes with innocence (as only a child has) is the very fabric that allows it’s audience to question the choices the characters make and the consequences they may have. The children in the film are deliberate aspirations of what the adults strive to be, even while they spew impulsive child-like behaviour that raises eyebrows constantly. Farhadi taps into this commonly misunderstood void of how the hasty actions of their parents affect the attitude and behaviour of their children, more often than not, resulting in unwanted character traits fueled by violence, anger and a desire to stand one’s ground.
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  13. Jul 27, 2014
    10
    Constantly unfolding and surprising, and ultimately extremely moving. A character piece, about how the past is what forms us, and lingers, no matter what we build. not as taut and perfect as "A Separation" but ultimately just as beautiful.
  14. Jul 26, 2014
    9
    Captivating. Incredibly well-directed, with very strong performances. And it seems churlish to complain that it can't quite measure up to Farhadi's 2011 masterpiece when it's, nevertheless, easily one of the best pictures of the 2013.
  15. Feb 17, 2014
    10
    Caught "The past" Asghar Farhadi's latest work last night in Isfahan" Farhadi's hometown" I gave ten star to the past like A separation but i confess that i like A separation more than this movie. The film was a masterpiece of Asghar Farhadi just like other film from this director. I hadn't been swept off my feet for a while, and The final sequence of the film had me amazing where name ofCaught "The past" Asghar Farhadi's latest work last night in Isfahan" Farhadi's hometown" I gave ten star to the past like A separation but i confess that i like A separation more than this movie. The film was a masterpiece of Asghar Farhadi just like other film from this director. I hadn't been swept off my feet for a while, and The final sequence of the film had me amazing where name of Bérénice Bejo And Ali Mosaffa was appear in Céline and Samir hands masterfully. I will be shocked if this movie doesn't win an academy award and I hope heard the name Of Iran and Asghar Farhadi when the pocket will be open in this ceremony. This film start little late but when Ahmad and Lucie meet together for second time Farhadi enters first shock to the viewer. From this moments we can see specific signature of Farhadi's drama in this movie. Farhadi never talk about his movies explicitly but I guess purpose of The Past sending an alarm to the selfish man who's always run from his past or in other words its past decisions. This past decisions is impact in our life and the others that we like them to much and Farhadi says "Be careful of Bad effect" maybe for this Marie never let to Ahmad to explain the reason for departure because She believe That decisions is the starting point for adventures that occurred four years later.Similarly, we can determine to the relationship between Marie and Samir or decision of Lucie or Naïma's decision and Or even the Céline's decision. Expand
Metascore
85

Universal acclaim - based on 41 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 38 out of 41
  2. Negative: 0 out of 41
  1. Reviewed by: Phil de Semlyen
    Mar 17, 2014
    80
    A bold, honest film about family life that showcases a terrifically unpeppy turn from Bejo.
  2. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    Feb 20, 2014
    60
    These characters are so compelling that their stories are easy to get caught up in. As with "A Separation," Farhadi's drama never strikes a resoundingly false note -- which is a precious thing in movies lately -- and as such is a film that promises moving rewards.
  3. Reviewed by: Steve Persall
    Feb 19, 2014
    100
    With The Past, Farhadi again displays a gift for poking into corners of nondescript lives and discovering unique drama.